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Cammeron-Yaggi Trench Periscope Rifle


Guest John Orfei
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Guest John Orfei

I have recently read a short article in the American Rifleman (January 2003)about a protoype rifle which was being tested by the American Forces. The article states that the American public was well aware of the terrible casualties experienced by the belligerent nations, and there was concern over the prospect casualties among U.S. Troops. The inventors- Cammeron and Yaggi took an informal tour of the battlefields of europe, and met with battlewise British and French Soldiers and a few suggestions to improve this rifle. The rifle was the standard M1903 Springfield which was mounted on a metal framework that could be held on the shooter's shoulder and it allowed the rifle to be fired over the trench without raising the head to shoot the weapon. A periscope lens was added to the shoulder mount. The rifle also had a 25 round magazine for extended firing. Test showed that this rifle shot 10-groups at 200 yards with a spead of 1.3" The rifle was till being tested at the time of the Armistice. I was wondering if any other type of equipment (useful or not ) was being worked on by both sides of this confict. Oh by the way the Article is called Built for the Trenches by Bruce Canfield.

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The ANZACs developed a similar idea in Gallipoli in 1915. It consisted of a wooden frame by which a rifle could be placed to fire over the parapet of a trench with the firer operating a dummy loading and firing mechanism fixed lower down the frame. A periscope was used to aim the upper rifle in a system which sounds very much like the one you describe. Try a Google search for "periscope rifle" and you'll see quite a few references to it.

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The French Army were using a version of this with the Lebel Rifle as early as the winter of 1914/15; while their men went to war in red trousers in August 1914, their army was one of the quickest to adapt to the conditions of trench warfare.

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John,

Get a hold of a book titled:

Dominating the Enemy, War in the Trenches 1914-1918

Anthony Saunders

ISBN:0-7509-2444-6

This book has a whole chapter on what are called sniper scopes. That's waht theor called by the British.

They were in use by late 1914 by everyone. At first made in the field (RE workshops at Bethune for the British) and later issue patterns that had patents were built and issued.

Joe Sweeney

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